Justice Denied in EU-Ruled Kosovo
12:00 AM, Feb 23, 2010 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
With UNMIK then replaced by EULEX, the European forces of order in Kosovo chose, late in January of this year, to revive the case against Kurti, announcing that his trial would resume on February 15, 2010. But Kurti refused to go along with the latest attempt, and, as in 2007, his designated defense attorney also declined participation. The EULEX prosecutors again put off the trial, until February 22, but in the meantime 40,000 Kosovars, from all over the republic, signed a petition calling for Kurti’s release. Kosovar discontent with the charade of independence has been aggravated by the persecution of Kurti, a highly-cultivated and respected intellectual with years of prison time under Serbian rule. Ilir Deda, research director at the Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development, warned that the new trial of Kurti would have a “destabilizing” impact in Kosovo. Further, Kosovar law professor Ismet Salihu condemned the trial as illegitimate and illegal. Salihu supported Kurti’s refusal to participate in it, and declared that organizing and participating in protests is a lawful act. According to Salihu, whose view is supported by the majority of Kosovars and a few outsiders who have observed Kurti and his movement over time, Kurti has done nothing wrong.
Kurti himself notes that the Romanian police responsible for the deaths three years ago have returned to Kosovo and are now employed by EULEX, although Romania did not recognize the republic’s declaration of independence. It is absurd that in Kosovo, which is governed by Western Europeans, the right to protest must be defended against repression.
Americans should pay attention to the unfortunate outcome of UN-EU-OSCE rule in the Balkans, since the abdication of global responsibility proposed by the Obama administration is predicated on a greater world-wide role for these increasingly-discredited international organizations. Kosovo’s independence should be guaranteed, to defeat radical Islamists who have returned to the Balkans as a theatre for their malign operations, as well as to hold the line against Russian scheming in the region. America made a promise to the Kosovars, and the Kosovars believe that America keeps its promises. The Kosovars should not see their hope in our integrity disappointed. It's time for EULEX to go home.
Stephen Schwartz is a frequent contributor.